What do house mice look like?
An adult house mouse ranges in size from 5 1/2 to 7 inches in length, this includes their tail which is dark, scaly and has only a light layer of fur on it. They vary in color and can have gray, black, or brown colored fur covering their bodies with lighter tan colored bellies. House mice have pointed muzzles, small dark colored eyes, continuously growing incisors, large ears, and short, broad feet. House mice can also be identified by their droppings which are rod shaped with pointed ends and likely to have small hairs in them, and are about 1/8th to 1/4 of an inch long.
Where are house mice found?
Despite their name, house mice are found living outside where they will nest in fields, lawns, and in landscaped garden areas. House mice get their name because they are the most common species of mouse found living in homes and other buildings. They can invade a property any time of the year, but become particularly problematic in the late fall and winter months when they are looking for safe, warm shelter to overwinter in. They enter homes through very small spaces, and are most often found living and nesting in dark, secluded places that are close to food sources.
Common areas to find house mice living quarters include basements, attics, crawl spaces, laundry rooms, and behind large appliances like stoves and refrigerators. They will use paper, cotton, pieces of boxes, insulation, clothing, and other items they gather from your home to create their nests. House mice have very poor eyesight, so they rely heavily on their other senses - smell, taste, and touch. To help them find their way they will travel along walls using them as a guide. Most rodents are nocturnal so if mice have invaded your home, you may hear rustling and running sounds behind walls and above the ceiling at night when they are moving about and foraging for food and water.
What do house mice eat?
House mice are omnivorous which means that they will basically feed on anything; however, they do prefer a diet of seeds and cereal grains. Inside homes, they will look for foods that are high in fat, protein, and sugar. As house mice feed on food sources located in your home, they not only contaminate the food, but they also contaminate kitchen and pantry surfaces with their saliva, urine, and feces.
DIY house mouse prevention and control tips
Preventing house mice from invading your home is very important because they will contaminate your home with their urine and feces, their will damage the structure of your home and destroy personal items with their constant gnawing, and they will also introduce dangerous disease, bacteria, and parasites into your home. The following tips can help to prevent house mice from being attracted to and gaining entrance into your home.
Seal cracks and crevices in the foundation of your home, fix holes along the roof line, replace loose or missing roof shingles, caulk gaps found around windows and doors, and install door sweeps on exterior doors.
It is helpful to place a tight fitting cap on your home’s chimney and to make sure vent covers are secure.
Make sure that trash being kept outside until trash pick-up day is placed in garbage cans that have tight fitting or locking lids.
Place wood piles and compost piles a good distance away from the outside of your home.
Trim back trees and shrubs from the exterior of your home; they can use their branches as an easy pass to your home.
Inside your home, make sure that food in your kitchen is stored in sealed containers or in the refrigerator; quickly clean up spills and crumbs in kitchen and pantry areas; and keep clutter to a minimum in storage areas like attics, basements, and closets.